There are certain songs that, when you hear them, it automatically gets you hyped. From school pep rallies to cheer competitions and every other big gathering in between — “Bring Em Out” by T.I. is one of those songs.
While the 2004 hit song has longevity and cross-over appeal, the song’s success is only a snapshot of the trap rapper’s career.
Born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., T.I. released his debut album “I’m Serious” in 2001. Although the work didn’t receive major commercial appeal, it didn’t stop his musical pursuits. T.I. partnered with business partner Jason Geter to launch Grand Hustle Records in 2003.
From its initial launch, the rapper began putting out a series of mixtapes, leading him to release his second album, “Trap Muzik,” boasting singles such as “Rubberband Man” and “Let’s Get Away.”
Harris’ success story would continue to blossom from this point, as he produced several more successful albums, appeared in movies, and tapped into his business acumen.
Diversifying his portfolio, he is also the man behind a clothing line, restaurant, and the Atlanta-based Trap Music Museum. But with so much success, he has no plans to stop.
A previous post from AfroTech noted one of the rapper’s most recent business endeavors — a partnership with CIGNATURE.
Along with Soulja Boy and other influencers, CIGNATURE aims to create a bridge between the tobacco and cannabis industry. A rep from the brand behind the new tobacco and cannabis line described the excitement around having people such as T.I. collaborate with the brand.
“We strongly believe our extensive knowledge of the tobacco industry, combined with their rooted connection to the culture and community, is an absolute recipe for success,” the rep said. “We are happy to begin connecting dots and building bridges between the tobacco industry and hip-hop community.”
The partnership with CIGNATURE follows the long line of business deals that have catapulted T.I. into becoming a success story across multiple industries. Now, the rap icon has some wisdom to share which could inspire others on their entrepreneurial journeys.
For Harris, his approach to business came from an inspiration from Atlanta legend and entrepreneur Alonzo Herndon.
“Alonzo Herndon, who was a barber by trade, but not to cut hair, you know, for his community. You know, he was cutting hair for Caucasian counterparts because he knew that that’s where all the business was being discussed,” Harris explained to AfroTech. “And overhearing a conversation two white men were having about insurance, something he saw could be useful to our communities. That vision opened an opportunity for our people and communities to have insurance not just for, to protect their items but their legacies. And I think that that type of vision is what any of us should aim to be like.”
And for T.I., building his legacy is critically important. The father of six is making strategic moves to open doors for those that mean the most to him. That’s what inspires the type of investments the “ATL” star pursues.
“Where you invest at is going to determine not just you but your family’s future for generations,” Harris said to AfroTech. “Teach our children [to] invest in things that will be a commodity to you and not just buy things as consumers.”
The sense of vision T.I. received from Herndon is something he holds on to regardless of the tables he finds himself sitting at. As an entrepreneur, he wants aspiring business owners to know that they, too, can achieve great success as long as they stay focused on the dream, even when others doubt it.
More than anything, one must never be afraid to fail. For Harris, it’s all a part of the process.
“Fear of failure kills more dreams than failure in it ever did. You have to be willing to lose something in order to gain what you meant to have,” he pointed out.
Although T.I. is confident in his process, he is self-aware enough to know his path in life has afforded him privileges and access not widely available to everyone.
“Things are much different for me. And I wouldn’t suggest for anybody to go about things exactly the way that I have because it may not work out for them the same way,” T.I. said.
Nevertheless, he encourages everyone to tap into their inner voice and trust it will guide them to the right places to make the right decisions.
Regarding what’s next, Harris says he has several projects in the pipeline that he’s waiting for the right time to disclose.